November 2, 2023 | Theodora Wingert, MD, and Eilon Gabel, MD
DAPM Informatics Data Q&A
One of the amazing things about our department is the streamlined path we have here supporting data access for research and quality purposes. DAPM has really robust research and quality divisions, and a strong informatics division underlying these efforts. We created this brief Q&A to help us get the word out about the Informatics Division to new members of the department and to help people access clinical data for research or quality purposes.
Why does DAPM have an informatics division?
One of the biggest goals of our informatics team is to bring concrete data and evidence to support everything we do within the department. A big part of this is breaking down users’ barriers to querying actual data for research and quality purposes.
One of the biggest parts of what our team does is the Perioperative Data Warehouse (PDW). The PDW captures and distills data from over 40,000 tables in the electronic health record and packages it into easily retrievable and interpretable data points. In order to support users, we also have built up a multidimensional support infrastructure for the Data Discovery Repository (DDR), a self-service, analytic-ready, de-identified data repository. This resource has innumerable applications, including hypothesis generation, manipulation of real data, and the merging of clinical data with genomic data. Our Dashboards also allow clinical, administrative, and quality users to drill down by a myriad of categories to analyze trends and identify potential concerns.
Is having an informatics division unique?
Yes! Not many departments at UCLA interact with data the way we do. And not all anesthesiology departments have an informatics division. We are actually designated as a Center of Excellence in Perioperative Informatics by OHIA (The Office of Health Information and Technology). This allows us unique access and capability to create self-service tools that allow users across the health system to access data via web-based dashboards. In addition to supporting the clinical, administrative, and quality needs of the department and parts of the hospital, our unique position also provides a platform to make innovative research possible.
That’s great, so what do I do if I’m interested in accessing data from the electronic health records or other sources for a Quality or Research project?
We are here to help! UCLA is actually a fantastic place to be if you have an interest in research or quality. We have streamlined pathways to help make navigating the process easier. Our informatics division webpage on the UCLA DAPM intranet contains a lot of helpful background information. To access it, search “Informatics” on the Intranet or click on the link at the bottom of the page.
The first step is filling out the DAPM Research Support Request Form (located on the webpage). When you start filling this out, you will be asked about the type of research or quality project you are doing and what your expected needs are. This helps connect you with other research and quality resources that you may need to support your success.
The second part of the form is the PDW Data Request Form. This is where you can tell us about your hypothesis, study aims, timeline, and variables you are interested in studying. Typically after this step, we will set up a meeting to go over the details of your request.
How long does it usually take?
This is hard to put a number on—it really depends on the project. Many projects primarily involve data we are already capturing from the EHR. These studies can often provide a fast turn-around time. Delivering a data extract can take longer for projects involving novel or complex variables and/or projects involving the joining of clinical data with other data sources. We understand people often have goals that may involve abstract or grant deadlines, and we try our best to work with users to help them achieve their goals.
You mentioned other research and quality infrastructure. What other support exists at UCLA DAPM for research and quality?
We are honestly incredibly fortunate to have both an amazing research team and quality team at UCLA DAPM to support people who are interested in these areas. On the research side, we have support pathways to assist with everything from the IRB, compliance, statistical support, grant preparation, data use agreements for multi-institutional projects, and more. Our quality division is also incredibly robust, with an integrated quality reporting and data analytics infrastructure. The fact that we have all these supports is part of why UCLA DAPM is such a special place.
We hope we’ve provided a little bit of information for newcomers or those getting started. Please reach out to anyone on our team anytime. Thank you!
Theodora Wingert MD
Eilon Gabel MD
The Informatics Team
C8 Informatics main page
DAPM Research Support Request Form